Morning came way too early for Day 2. The Chuck Jones Cinema hosted a packed screening of Glenn Close’s passion project Albert Nobbs, directed by Rodrigo García. Close plays the title character, a woman disguising herself as a man in order to work as a butler at a small hotel in Ireland at the turn of the century. Close first played Albert Nobbs off-Broadway in 1982 and has been trying to get the film made ever since. It’s an impressive effort. The movie suffers a bit from Albert being so repressed and keeping the audience, as well as the world, at a distance. The cast is superb and Glenn Close is sure to be talked about a lot during awards season (which basically starts now). Janet McTeer, a 1999 Oscar nominee for Tumbleweeds, gives, I think, the best performance of the film as a sympathetic house painter. Both Glenn Close and Rodrigo García were in attendance and Leonard Maltin was on hand to direct a little Q&A after the film. Very cool.
Next we got to see one of this year’s Silver Medallion honourees, Pierre Étaix. Having never heard of this French comic master before Thursday, I was enchanted by the half-hour of clips shown before the man himself took the stage to a standing ovation. Étaix is 82 and, partly due to the efforts of Telluride director Gary Meyer, is finally seeing his films rescued from legal limbo and released to the general public for the first time in something like 40 years! He talked about his early years a bit and especially his admiration for Jerry Lewis, who considers Étaix one of the geniuses of world cinema. Then we were treated to The Suitor (1962), Étaix’s first full-length feature. It definitely shows his debts to Buster Keaton and Jacques Tati. It is chock full of ingenious sight gags and gently comic situations. Apparently Étaix’s films have been released on DVD in Europe with North America to follow. Looking forward to that.
After a much-needed nap, we saw the Chilean film Bonsái, introduced by director Cristián Jiménez and star Diego Noguera. They said that since there was no official Q&A scheduled, they’d be up for an informal tequila Q&A at any nearby restaurant. The movie was quite charming with main character Julio (Noguera) romancing his moody classmate Emilia by lying about reading Proust. The film then jumps ahead 8 years where Julio is struggling to write his first novel. Flipping back and forth, Bonsái proves to be a bittersweet love song to romance and literature.
And finally, we caught a surprise screening of Butter, a sure-to-be R-rated comedy about a seriously competitive butter sculpture contest in Iowa. Director Jim Field Smith was on hand to introduce it along with stars Ty Burrell and Jennifer Garner (who’s also a producer). It was a raucous crowd-pleaser but seems a little out of place at Telluride, although I’m glad to have a comic sorbet to cleanse my palate and help me through the many seriously sad features we’re seeing.